Help Congress Write a Health Care Bill On MixedInk

MixedInk launched early this year as a collaborative writing tool with a democratic editorial process towards finished documents. It’s platform, which promotes various voting tools, document-creation options and recommendation features, is now being used by Congress for the writing of a health care policy.

Congressman Anthony Weiner is helping to head the new project, asking citizens to help draft important health care principles that will be included in the upcoming bill. Click here for more details on Congressman Weiner’s new project.

The process being used for the writing of this bill is the same as other document-creation systems, enabling contributors to browse, rate and write their own portion. Sections of one person’s contribution can be mixed and matched with others, while the rating process can be used for recommendations on the best aspects of the document so far. See our initial review of MixedInk for more details of the MixedInk process.

This move is not entirely surprising in this day and age, especially when you consider the open-forum format that many members of Congress and other aspects of our government are turning to in order to involve the public for different levels of the governmental system. As for the current attitudes towards involving citizens in such a process, President Obama and his efforts towards leveraging web-based platforms for doing so has influenced both members of our government as well as the public, making it a more idealistic goal that we all can actually work towards.

So is this a democratic process for Democracy itself? That depends party on the level of participation from the public, as well as the level of acceptance from Congress representatives themselves. In some sense a web-based platform used for anything involved in the bill-writing process is self-selective, as a participant would need to be invested in writing a bill as well as have access to the Internet. This self-selection isn’t entirely different from any other aspect of a citizen-influenced process within the governmental system, so hopefully web-based platforms such as MixedInk will be able to improve the overall process for the better.